Marian Vlaar

After emigrating from the Netherlands to New Zealand in 1970, Marian took up a position as a Residential Social Worker for the then Department of Social Welfare, having trained and qualified in the Netherlands. Following this placement Marian gained a place in the Diploma of Child Psychotherapy programme at the University of Otago’s Department of Psychological Medicine.

During her training Marian completed a placement at the Psychotherapy Centre in Dunedin and joined this practice. Her expertise and skill in working with children, adolescents and families quickly became known and Marian was highly regarded for her work, particularly with challenging and traumatised children, and children with intellectual disabilities. As a full member of NZACAP (New Zealand Association of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists) Marian became an applicant member of NZAP and began working with adults towards her full membership of NZAP, which she achieved in 2002. She travelled weekly to Gore, working as a child and adult psychotherapist from 1991-93. Her reputation for the excellence of her work was recognised by many government institutions. Children were often referred to Marian for exacting Section 29A reports for Family Court.

Along with her clinical skills, Marian’s head for figures was quickly recognised at the Psychotherapy Centre and Marian ably managed their finances for many years. She became Treasurer for the Otago and Southland Branch, and was Treasurer for the 2011 Conference in Dunedin. She was also an active Conference Organising Committee member. Marian accepted the position of NZAP Honorary Treasurer in 2011, taking on this exacting role for her maximum three two-year terms, and then carrying on for a seventh year when no one could be found to take over. This was a time-consuming and generous contribution to the Association. Marian agreed to be Treasurer again for the 2018 Dunedin Conference, relieving the remainder of the Committee of a large part of the administration.

Marian has contributed greatly to the Ashburn Clinic Seminar series over the years, being highly regarded as a local expert on Melanie Klein. Her work as a supervisor is also of enormous value to many Dunedin psychotherapists. She has been a member of the Dunedin Supervisors’ Group for many years. She was  a regular marker of ACP case studies, having a grasp of the English language that enabled her to understand what is written, as well as clarify what is missing. She has a deep personal understanding of the cost of migration and the experience of belonging in two countries.

Marian has a particular skill for working in the background. In her work as NZAP’s Honorary Treasurer, she exhibited tact and care which a generation of less financially-literate Council members have learnt to appreciate and to rely on. She has also sustained robustness in what is a vital, yet sometimes thankless, role. In doing so, alongside her thoughtfulness, she has demonstrated how important the Treasurer is to the Association’s wellbeing. This is apart from her therapeutic expertise and the respect in which her clinical skills are held. She is also valued for her warmth, humour and loyal friendship.